good things

good things from the last few days:

  • brunch at allerton with good friends and walking in the gardens on a sunny day
  • working with hot doctors and seeing my uterus bump up against my belly during an exam
  • coffee ice cream with a cute boy in the sunshine before class
  • giving a successful (if rambling) two hour talk without being overly nervous
  • realizing i really know this stuff inside and out
  • renting a locker at the gym that is 2.75 miles away from my apartment by bike, meaning that every workout will also include 5.5 miles on the bike to and from
  • girl talk with my best friend
  • winning (1) pink plaid hightop chucks ($10 on ebay) and (2) tickets to see ladytron (for freeeee!)
  • the weekend is almost here!

over the last week i have had a number of internal debates featuring a small version of myself writing “i’m 26. what am i doing with my life?” repeatedly on a chalkboard in my head. the answer i keep coming back to in response is “if nothing else, i know i’m helping people with my vagina.”

that said, i work with my second group of med students tonight. it’s good to know that even if my research never helps anyone, the work that i’m doing with this program will directly improve the experience of at least a handful of doctors and their subsequent patients. i feel pretty good about that.

Part of me wants to get rid of most of my stuff – or put it in storage, or something – and shack up communally for the rest of the time here, or until I get a “real job” and decide to stay in one place domestically for more than a year and change. It seems easier in some ways – and I’m sure is harder too.

Today I took my morning slow – waking up with sunshine and coffee and NPR, eating a bowl of Cheerios at my kitchen table, drying my hair. Between morning workouts, meetings, and the boy, I rarely get a morning to myself – which is OK, it just means that mornings like this seem like a luxury, which I think I prefer.

Tonight I worked with my first batch of med students. They were earnest, intelligent, good listeners, and observed with their hands as well as with their eyes. They talked through the whole exam, asking questions and giving information to me as the patient. Both students thanked me and the two other instructors when they were done. Part of me wanted to hug them. Instead I did a little dance while eating Cheezits, and then helped another student. After we were done, Karina and I talked about how empowering this whole thing is – and how while at first the disconnect between our bodies as sexual and our bodies as clinical was hard, it’s now really kind of cool, and we’re both very glad to be involved.

Here is a thing I’m exceedingly tired of:

For the last two years, I have worked more-or-less part time at a local coffeeshop. More-or-less part time means my hours have ranged between 10-30 per week, with the high being in the fall of 2004 when I was working a full time job and trying to get over a bad breakup, and the low being in the fall of 2005 when I was just too busy with school and a 2/3rds time appointment to work any more than one 10 hour shift per week. I’ve had (at least) two jobs since I started there two years ago, and between school, work, and my part time job have averaged between 60-70 working/class hours per week plus homework.

In short, I work my ass off.

My part time job has never been my first priority – I’ve always had either a full time job or school to worry about. That said, I have been absolutely as available as I could possibly be to them. I worked 30 hours per week when I was working full time when we were short staffed and they wouldn’t hire anyone. I continued working three shifts per week once I started school even though that meant I frequently didn’t have a day off between jobs for weeks at a time. I work this hard because I need the money, and I work this hard because I love my jobs.

That said, I really think the time has come to quit my part time job. I haven’t had a raise since December 2004, and that was when minimum wage went up. I know for a fact that an employee that I trained and who has been the subject of repeated and vocal complaints by coworkers to management is making more than I do. I have repeatedly offered my help for additional tasks that are well within my realm of experience and availability, and have been repeatedly brushed off by management, only for those responsibilities to go to people who complain about the extra hours and extra responsibilities. And now a management position has gone to an employee who has been at the store for six months, and who works perhaps one more shift per week than I do.

It’s not that I want a management job – I don’t. I couldn’t take it even if I wanted to. It’s that I’ve been systematically passed over for any increases in responsibility, ignored when I make suggestions, and brushed off when I’ve tried to help out. I’m so pissed off that I don’t even know what to say – and I feel like my hands are tied because the owner’s father just passed away, and I don’t want to take out my frustration on him right now, even though that’s really where it should be directed.

Oh Internet, what should I do? Is it finally time to quit a job that I love?

On Friday we got the news that once again, my graduate program is ranked #1 by US News & World Report. (press report) We’re actually tied for #1, but that’s good enough for us. Spirits in the building were fantastic on Friday, and a number of people had #1 temporary tattoos on their faces. Exciting!

Also on Friday Shane found out that his fellowship was renewed for another year. This means he’ll be sticking around for a while longer, which is also exciting!